Raleigh, N.C. — The state Supreme Court has refused to delay the filing period for this year's legislative and congressional elections to accommodate a long-running case over how voting districts were drawn.
In a one-sentence ruling Friday, the court denied a motion by a former Democratic lawmaker, the NAACP and others suing the state that asked that the filing period for this year's election not open until the court had reached a verdict.
"I don't think this affects the merits of the case," said Eddie Speas, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
Lawyers for the state and the lawmakers who drew the districts said they were drawn to abide by prior state Supreme Court rulings and federal law. Those challenging the districts say they divide voters along racial lines and use other illegal tactics.
"We have said all along that the General Assembly followed the letter of the law in establishing new voting boundaries. Today’s Supreme Court decision is further evidence that the redistricting process was fair and legal," read a joint statement from Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, the principal architects of the redistricting plan.
The federal government has already said the districts do not violate federal voting rights laws. A panel of three Superior Court judges ruled last year that the districts do not constitute "a violation of any cognizable equal protection rights of any North Carolina citizens."